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Tips for Tax Filing Offered by Local Veteran Tax Accountant

By Nichole Richardson

Tuesday, April 17th is the filing deadline for 2011 taxes. The traditional date of April 15th was extended again this year because of Emancipation Day. Though we are mid-way through tax season, here are some pointers for those of you who have yet to file, and some tips to keep in mind next year for those of you who have already filed.

Brad Bain, who is celebrating his 20th year as the owner of Bain Accounting Tax, suggests the easiest way to prepare for filing your taxes is to have a very organized filing system. It doesn’t have to be fancy but it must hold and separate all important documents and receipts.

“Create some sort of organized system, even if it’s just in a notebook, that stores information on properties you own, schooling, charity donations and receipts. Be sure to include logs for vacation homes, car mileage, and computer and cell phone use, if applicable,” said Bain.

Make sure to thoroughly check the credentials of your tax advisor to ensure they are not a “hobbyist” preparer and don’t file until you have everything you need to do so. If you file before all of the needed forms come in then you will be stuck paying for an amendment.

Always give your preparer the most accurate information you have, including current bank accounts if you are getting a refund direct deposited. Most preparers are now electronically filing so double check all birthdates, social security numbers, and signatures before your returns are submitted.

Also have an idea of the deductions you are entitled to claim and choose to file in a way that will be the most beneficial to you. “Really understand standard deductions and how they affect your return,” explained tax practitioner Fran Seward.

“A lot of people want to itemize because they feel it’s a better deal to be able to write things off but in the long run they will end up losing money if their standard deduction exceeds the amount of the itemized deductions.”

The bottom line when filing your taxes is to be prepared, documented, and accurate with the information you give your tax specialist to file your return.

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